Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

 

 

P-Town Spreads Christmas Cheer to Children in Need

Santa Claus makes his way into the ring for dispense gifts at the P-Town Combat Sports Academy, which is supported by the City of Perris
Santa Claus makes his way into the ring for dispense gifts at the P-Town Combat Sports Academy, which is supported by the City of Perris.

The coaches at the P-Town Combat Sports Academy usually hand out advice about the proper way to throw a jab or an uppercut or how to master the art of Brazilian jujitsu.

But last week, they took time out of teaching boxing, martial arts and wrestling skills while getting into the holiday spirit.

The staff of coaches and trainers handed out Christmas toys to children aimed at brightening their holidays. About 50 youngsters took home Hot Wheels, t-shirts, footballs, dolls and other goodies during a visit from Santa Claus, who held court in the gym’s boxing ring while handing out holiday cheer.

Perris resident Andre Mitchell, who founded P-Town as a way to help youngsters and teen-agers develop self-defense and self-esteem skills, said WBC Middleweight Boxing Champion Sergio Martinez paid for some of the presents. The gym opened about 18 months ago.
Mitchell reserved a special thanks to the City of Perris, which provided the space for the academy, which provides training and mentoring to more than 100 youth.

St. Nick with P-Town founder Andre Mitchell
St. Nick with P-Town founder Andre Mitchell.

“We would not be here without the help of the City,” said Mitchell, a Los Angeles police officer who tracks down fugitives from justice. “We’re so grateful for their continuing support. We are working to keep kids off the street and to give them a place to become productive citizens.”

Coach Manuel Villarreal brought his daughters, Cecilia, 7, and Celeste, 5, to meet Santa. He said he appreciates the hard work put in by the students who attend the P-Town Combat Sports Academy, some from families with limited financial resources. His daughters got Barbie dolls.

“We push these kids to the limit,” Villarreal said. “They are great kids and we appreciate their hard work.”
Jaime Ochoa and his son, Jacob, 10, said they believe the sports academy is teaching those enrolled self-discipline. The younger Ochoa received a sports action-figure from Santa.

Santa made this youngster’s Christmas a little brighter by giving him a monster truck
Santa made this youngster’s Christmas a little brighter by giving him a monster truck.

“This is what boxing needs to do—give back to the community,” Jaime Ochoa said.
Frank Romero teaches Brazilian jujitsu and wrestling at P-Town. He calls the academy a “very, very good program targeting youth who have no place else to go.”

“Our goal is to help them be the best they can be,” Romero said. “I honestly think this place will be a great thing for everybody.”

Manuel Sanchez Jr., 16, said he likes coming to P-Town to train and receive tips from the coaching staff.
“To be here is just fun,” he said. “The coaches are nice and care about the students. The benefits include getting in shape and teaching dedication and respect.”

This pile of presents went to more than 40 boys and girls
This pile of presents went to more than 40 boys and girls.

Boxing legend Benny Georgino, whose connection as a trainer and promoter dates back to the 1930s, said he believes the City of Perris has helped “create a miracle” by supporting the P-Town club. Students who attend the gym work harder in school and reject crime and drugs to improve themselves through sport and self-defense.

“This is a great thing,” Georgino said. “I am so glad the City of Perris supports it.”